Business

Why Sending Thank You Cards Is Important

Two words that are often forgotten in any line of work are “Thank you.”  Now after a project, contract, or event is completed we may half hazardly throw out those words, but that is what everyone does.
Some people think it is an overrated idea and that a text message or email sends the same message, but that just isn’t true. People value what takes time and costs more and a text or an email doesn’t send that type of message.  On the other hand, a hand-written note that you had to purchase an envelope, card, and stamp lets the other person know that they are worth your time and money.
I also believe that with whatever you do, you need to be you 100%.  I don’t mean for you to use this fact as a scapegoat saying that “I’m not someone who sends cards.”  I bring up this fact because I want you to use a little flair or embellishment when you send these cards.  When picking out stamps from the post office, don’t just do the typical ones.  Look through their booklets and pick out something fun, creative, or whimsical.  Pick out a stamp that you think represents you or that you think is pretty cool.  If you want to go one step further, you can also find a card design that fits your personality or you can have customized cards emblazoned with your name or logo.  What I am trying to get across here is that even in the small details you need to let your personality shine through.
Now that you have got your cards and stamps in order, the most important reason why you need to send thank you cards is because the world doesn’t have enough of these floating around. How many times have you read a book that changed your life, heard a speech that moved you, or had a conversation that shifted everything in your worldview?  When these moments happen, we need to let the other person know.  If it’s an author, find an address to send them the card and mail off a thank you note letting them know how their book specifically impacted you.  If it was a speech that you heard or a conversation that you had, find out a good address and mail off that thank you card.
As you start to make this a habit, it is amazing how all of this good that you are putting into the world will come back to you.  The connections that you can make and the opportunities that these notes can bring about are life giving for not only the receiver, but for you also.  Please, take this encouragement and start letting others know that you care greatly about them and their contribution in your life.
Business

So You Didn’t Close The Deal

In a recent community event that I hosted, the topic of “How to hold your customers accountable” was discussed.  I was able to get one of my friends, who has been crushing it in sales for over 15 years and recently had his best year ever, come and share his insights with the group.  Here are some of those insights.
Contract negotiation is all about the relationship.  Most people just try and get facts about the company that will help the deal move forward, but they are missing key elements.  Those key elements are that they need to more fully understand the individual they’re doing business with.  It seems a simple understanding of what that person does and their specific role is sometimes overlooked.  This is a crucial mistake because if you don’t know who you are literally doing business with, there is no way you can best position yourself and the product to meet their needs.
We also need to realize that contract negation and building relationships is a dance.  If you all are not moving in sync, it is felt and problems start to come up.  Stop stepping on their toes, take a breath and get back into the rhythm.  We need to have our eyes open to everything around us so we don’t mess up by doing a line dance while they are doing the Cupid Shuffle or the Fox Trott.  To be a better “dance partner,” go back to the point above and re-read it.  Get to know the other party intimately if you want to know how to best move and grove together.
Most importantly, be you.  Know what you are great at and go into the conversation putting those qualities and characteristics first.  If you are more reserved, don’t come barging in the meeting telling jokes.  If you typically slower in building trust, don’t start with a complex question that goes beyond the surface.  However you are, lead with that gifting.
Now, let’s say you execute what you think is the perfect pitch and you get to know the customer in and out, but for some reason you don’t get the deal.  What in the heck happened?  That is a great question and one you need to ask yourself.  Don’t go blaming the should have been customer or other people on your team.  What you need to be doing is see what you missed.  Where you actually talking to the decision maker or where you interacting with the gatekeeper the entire time?  Did you miss it because someone had an inside track with an executive so they got the business?  If you missed the sale, you need to take the time to look over the whole story and see what fact or issue you overlooked and didn’t clearly answer.
If you didn’t close the deal, it’s not the end of the world.  In fact, it helps you better refine your craft.  Even if you missed the deal for something small, that one thing can be a huge leverage point the next time this opportunity comes around, because lets be clear about one thing… that opportunity to sell is right around the corner.
Business

How To Plan Against Your Weaknesses

If you don’t truly know yourself, how do you ever plan to get better and plan against your weaknesses?
Something I have come to realize is that I like to go full speed ahead and do things before asking any questions.  It is a trait that has been incredibly helpful at times, and also incredibly destructive.  In my professional life it has helped bring about great life changing experiences, yet at the same time it has caused me to put my foot in my mouth and cause issues because I hadn’t fully planned.
Now I absolutely love this trait about me, but I realize that it can have a pretty negative affect if not controlled.  Over the past 10 months I have seen this trait of “do first and plan later” time and time again.  Most recently it was when I called a handful of friends trying to convince them we should put on a small sales conference.  I was taking steps and getting people to do tasks when a I ended up having a conversation with a trusted mentor.  The life altering observation he made was that I was taking too big of a bite.  He asked the question,”What is one small step you can take that you could rally people around?”
That question changed everything.  It made it go from a conference to s small monthly get together of young professionals over coffee or beer.
That one question shined a big light on a giant weakness of mine.  Ever since that weakness has been brought to light, I have changed how I plan and do things.  Now I am far from perfect as I still catch myself running ahead without asking the needed questions, but at least I am aware of it and can plan against it by having trusted people in my life tell me when I am rushing ahead and trying to take on too big of a task.
I’m not sure what your weaknesses are, but you need to get some trusted folks around you to help shine a light on what they may be, so that you can plan against them.
What is your weakness and how can you plan against it?
Business

How To Get Beyond The Ghost

We are just four day’s away from the next Carrier Community Event and I am freaking pumped!
Today’s post is inspired from some answers from the attendees when it came to the question of how do you get beyond the ghost.  The ghost is referring to the person you were talking to and about to sign a deal with, but then all of a sudden they don’t respond to your text’s, call’s, emails… nothin.  Below are some of the ideas discussed, some of which I wouldn’t have thought of.  Since I have started creating this carrier community with others, these pieces of wisdom have become invaluable.
  1. Pay attention to the news surrounding their company and about items that would be of interest to them.  If their company has done something remarkable and it is being reported on, this is an easy way to mention it to them and possibly get them talking about themselves… which we all love doing.  If their company isn’t in the news and you sent a printed out copy of the article with a letter stating why you sent it, that shows that you actually know about them and their interests, and that you are not afraid to go above and beyond what others and sales do.
  2. Search job postings for their company.  You may notice that their company is about to hire someone who will be their boss, or that their position is now open.  If you see that the company is hiring a new person in logistics / supply chain, you can send a welcome note once that position is filled.
    • You should also pay attention to their LinkedIn.  That is the easiest way to see changes to someones status and to see if their company, if their company keeps up with their own LinkedIn, has new people that could help you get back in contact with “The Ghost.”
  3. Get existing clients to call prospects.  If you can’t get back in touch with your contact, see if you can get an existing client to call on your behalf.  If someone called me and was genuinely raving about the service they were receiving… I know I would be 100% more inclined to reignite those conversations and take a second and third look on what was actually offered.
  4. Take a personal visit to their office.  This is super old school, but a personal touch is always more impactful.  See if you can learn their schedule a little bit better before you go to visit because you may be able to catch them on their way back from lunch.
  5. Hold them accountable.  This is one of the more tough suggestions because you have to do it with empathy.  You have no idea what is going on in their lives, but whatever is happening shouldn’t keep them from helping out their company.  If they agreed to get back with you about a yes or a no, keep them accountable to that.
Any of these five points can be implemented over and over again, but the most important thing is to make the other customer the hero. Part of the reason they may be ghosting is because even though you may be saving them some money or solving a problem, you are positioning yourself as the hero bringing about the solution. Remember that in sales you are never the hero.  Your job in sales is to make the other individual realize that with your help, they are going to be the hero as they save their company money, solve a big issue, or help bring about positive change that the company has been needing for so long.
Getting beyond the ghost isn’t easy, but it is possible. What are ways that you are doing it with your potential customers?
Business

Be Mindful Of Your Expectations

I recently went to my first Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals event.  It turned out to be a much better networking event then I had expected, which was pleasantly surprising, and I was able to meet a handful of pretty awesome folks.  There was a handful of great things about the event and I may post about those things another time, but for today… I wanted to talk about my expectations going in.
Let me ask a question before I go further.  Have you ever been to a movie and had extremely high expectations going in, only to in the end leave the theater disappointed?  Yet, when you talked to your friends about the movie the next day they were blown away.  One of the main reasons for this is because of expectations.  I have gone into movies with low expectations and been pleasantly surprised and I have gone in with high expectations and been sorely disappointed.  Last night was more of the disappointed for me, but that is on me.
I was connected to this group by a friend and I went in with the purpose to talk to a few key people about an idea that I had to add value to the group. I know… stupid.  That thought process is against all that I always talk about, but sometimes impatience and our past lives can get the better of us.  The one saving grace though is that I was texting a friend before the event and as I was doing this I caught myself about to make a big mistake… going in looking for the sale.  Since I caught myself having too high of expectations I was able to temper them a little, but not fully, and that is why I walked away a little disappointed in the whole thing.
No matter the event you are going to, even if you are the keynote speaker, make sure you temper your expectations.  A guardrail that I am going to have in place is to go in wanting to share in at least one persons story. That doesn’t mean that I will do business with them eventually, it just means that I will pay attention to them and actually let them be heard.  If I can offer advice, fantastic.  If it leads to us connecting later on, great. If I can offer a smile, awesome.  The outcome doesn’t really matter.  I just know that from now on I am going to go in expecting to share in at least one persons story and let the rest fall where it may.
I am glad that I had that conversation with my friend beforehand because if I would have went in hot with barrels blazing, I would have missed the opportunity to connect with two pretty awesome guys that work five minutes from where I do.
Remember to check your expectations at the door because you don’t want to ruin a perfectly good experience.